Just back from seeingThe Age of Stupid,a new UK-produced film looking back from an imagined hot world in 2055 from on mankind’s failure to take the steps that would have saved our homo sapiens from catastrophe.
I guess I’d hoped for a repeat and equally inspirational experience of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth – a film that changed planetary thinking about climate change and the threat it presents to our survival.
That’s a very big ask, and although it’s a well-made, thoughtful movie with compelling individual narratives aimed to jolt Western viewers into protesting on the streets, accepting windfarms in their back yards and taking climate change seriously, Age of Stupid isn’t in the same league.
A Nigerian girl living close to a Shell oil facility wants to be a doctor and enjoy a life of Western-style luxury. An Indian budget airlines entrepreneur dreams of getting all India airborne. Iraqi children in Jordanian exile play soldiers-and-insurgents. A grizzled old Mont Blanc guide in France tearfully and movingly laments the disappearance of the glaciers and of autumns and springs in the mountains. A New Orleans oilman lost everything in Katrina and comments that this must indeed be the Age of Stupid.
The film had the very best scientific advice from climate change guru Mark Lynas, filmed explaining how CO2 emissions must peak in 2015 and then fall rapidly if there’s to be any chance of holding global temperature rise to an only minimally disastrous two degrees.
But, as a movie, Age of Stupid didn’t, I’m afraid, for me light the blue touchpaper.
Despite the film’s grim final countdown to global meltdown by 2055, it just underlines how hard it now is and will remain, until catastrophe gets truly personal, to bring home to ordinary Western folk in our comfortable fossil-fuelled comfort the reality of how we stand on the brink of the precipice.